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Castaway Bay

By

Castaway Bay

The small, but spunky wave pool at Castaway Bay serves up some fairly potent waves.

© Arthur Levine 2005. Licensed to About.com.
Cedar Point, home to the world's largest (and some might say greatest) collection of roller coasters and amusement rides, now offers year-round fun with Castaway Bay. The indoor water park features plenty of activities for guests of all ages and thrill-tolerance levels.

The featured attraction is the Rendezvous Run indoor water coaster. The park also offers water slides, a wave pool, the Lookout Lagoon Family Funhouse (with the ubiquitous water park tipping bucket), and The Grotto, an indoor/outdoor whirlpool that offers plenty of hot tub yin to a cold winter day's yang.

The Castaway Bay resort includes 237 hotel rooms in a number of configurations and price points (room rates include park admission), three restaurants, a huge arcade, a craft and child activity center, and meeting spaces.

If you are looking for more wet fun, there are other indoor water parks in Ohio other than Castaway Bay.

Compare Prices:

Compare rates at Expedia.

Location and Phone:

Sandusky, Ohio (at the entrance to Cedar Point)
419-627-2106

Indoor Water Park Square Footage:

38,000

Admission Policy:

Water park open to Castaway Bay hotel guests. Depending on availability, the park offers day passes Mondays through Thursdays.

Water Park Features:

Water roller coaster, wave pool, water slides, interactive water play structure, activity pool, indoor/outdoor whirlpool spas, toddler's play area.

Ride Review:

See the Resort:

Affiliated Amusement Park and Official Web Site:

Cedar Point
(Cedar Point also operates an outdoor water park, Soak City, that is open in the warmer months.)

Castaway Bay.

Overview:

If You Can't Bring Ohio to the Caribbean... Located on a peninsula jutting into Lake Erie, Sandusky, Ohio is a warm-weather haven best known for the coaster-crazy, classic amusement park, Cedar Point. Given its family vacation cachet and its central location, it's no surprise that the Great Wolf Lodge folks tapped Sandusky for one of its popular indoor water park resorts. Nor is it a surprise that Wisconsin Dells developers chose Sandusky for the site of the second Kalahari indoor water park mega-resort. Rather than watch from the sidelines as others surfed the indoor water park wave in the town that they made famous, Cedar Point jumped in with both feet and converted the Radisson Harbour Inn into the Castaway Bay Indoor Water Park Resort. Now, vacationers can enjoy the Cedar Point experience year-round.

Situated at the head of the causeway to Cedar Point and facing the harbor, Castaway Bay has a lovely location. The highlight of the resort is, of course, the indoor water park. By industry standards, Castaway Bay is a medium-sized facility. But the park has been cleverly designed to make maximum use of its space; they've jammed a lot of fun into a small footprint. The surprisingly potent Pineapple Pipeline water slide is part of the Lookout Lagoon water play structure, which is RIGHT next to the hot tub, which is RIGHT next to the exit of the water coaster, which is RIGHT next to...well, you get the idea.

True to its thrill ride roots, Castaway Bay's slides and rides are generally edgier, faster, and wilder than comparable attractions at other indoor water parks. The featured ride, the Rendezvous Run uphill water coaster, for example, delivers impressive airtime and is an exhilarating, slightly out-of-control (but in a good way) experience. The Tropical Tube Slides, which start at the 35-foot level and extend outside the building, are unusually zippy and seriously disorienting. (For maximum speed and bewilderment, try the yellow one.)

The Colder it Gets, the More You'll Enjoy Castaway Bay's Hot Tub

But that's not to say younger children or folks with lower thrill thresholds won't enjoy Castaway Bay. There are areas and activities specifically designed for toddlers. And the centerpiece Lookout Lagoon Funhouse, with its myriad interactive gizmos and gadgets to douse yourself or others, is a hoot for all ages. Everybody seems to make at least one dash under the torrents of the Funhouse's tipping bucket. The Grotto's twin whirlpool spas, one inside and one outside connected by a plastic-shielded entryway, is especially appealing, no matter what your adventure level. There's something strange, yet utterly wonderful about letting your cares melt away in a bubbling, cozy-warm, outdoor hot tub as steam rises, a light snow falls, and the air temperature dips to six degrees with the wind chill factor.

Even if you never step foot in the wave pool (which may be small but generates some bracing, wipeout whitecaps) or try at least one of Castaway Bay's twelve water slides, it's likely you'll still break out in a grin just sitting in the bright, climate-controlled, Caribbean-themed park. "Where else in Ohio can you experience 84 degrees and the tropics--in the middle of January?" asks Janice Witherow, Cedar Point spokesperson. Well, at the nearby Great Wolf Lodge or Kalahari indoor water park. But we get the point. There's a winter storm watch outside, yet people are lounging poolside, barefoot and clad in their Hawaiian bathing suits, while palm trees and Jimmy Buffet tunes beckon. If they're not exactly wasted away in Margaritaville, it sure beats battling waist-deep snow in Akron.

If you're thinking about nodding off and dreaming about the tropics, however, you may want to retreat to your hotel room. There are no reclining chaise lounges, and the noise level, as in most indoor water parks, is booming. The nonstop background music, giggles and screams of waterlogged guests, gurgles and hisses of the water equipment, and the giant fans of the overhead heating system join together to form a wall of sound in the cavernous 38,000-square-foot building.

Unlike most indoor water park resorts, which are recently constructed and specifically geared to families, Cedar Point essentially grafted the water park building onto the old Radisson hotel. While they are pleasant enough, the hotel rooms are fairly pedestrian and look like the mid-level business hotel the Radisson once was.

"It probably would have been easier to build [Castaway Bay] from scratch," Witherow concedes. "We did what we could with what we had." The lobby got a major makeover and includes pieces of an old sailing ship, some animatronic parrots, two gift shops, a new snack bar, and a buffet restaurant. The rest of the hotel received minor cosmetic changes.

Most of Castaway Bay's rooms are standard and have twin queen or twin double beds. Adding a rollaway bed makes for a tight fit. Some of the rooms include bunk beds and privacy panels. Adjoining rooms can accommodate larger groups, and the hotel does offer some suites. As a nice touch, the complimentary toiletries include Bath & Body Works soap bars. The smell of cool citrus basil trumps chlorine any day.

BYO food

In addition to the lobby restaurants, the hotel has an adjoining T.G.I. Fridays, and the water park includes a snack bar with a surprising number of healthy choices. All of the rooms include a microwave and a mini refrigerator (that is empty), so you may want to save some vacation dollars by toting food from home, at least for breakfast.

A huge arcade includes a great collection of redemption games. Even though it's practically in the shadows of Cedar Point's famous coaster skyline, a small coin-operated simulator features coasters from--can you believe it?--Knoebel's and Kennywood.

Checkout time is 11 a.m., but Castaway Bay's bracelets allow admission into the water park until it closes at 10 p.m. Hotel guests can stow their luggage at the front desk. In the minor quibble department, the water park does include changing rooms and showers, but the showers do not offer soap, shampoo, or even a dish to hold soap. Remember to bring your own toiletries, or, If you don't mind smelling like chlorine, skip the shower altogether.

If you want to compare resorts, there are other indoor water parks in Ohio in addition to Castaway Bay.

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